GuineaGuinea, a country located on the western coast of Africa, is one of 31 fragile states that was provided with grants from the United Nations (U.N.). In 2009, the U.N. granted $25 million to develop 50 programs dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. This initiative is known as the Women’s Fund for Gender Equality (FGE). These programs for women’s empowerment in Guinea are divided into four categories: productive resources, institutional relations, interpersonal relations and personal resources.

The first category, productive resources, includes anything which deals with the economy and job market. In 2015, only 66 percent of women participated in the labour force, which is low compared to the 78 percent of men who participated. A study by the FGE found that one of the main reasons that women did not work was because they were already dedicating 82 hours a week to housework, childcare and fetching wood and water.

As a response, the FGE developed a training program to teach 300 women from Guinea’s Tristão Islands how to plant, grow, harvest and sell goods made from the moringa plant using solar polytunnel dryers. The moringa is a nutrient-rich tree that can grow in tropical climates and can easily be made into a powder, tea, paste or a sauce. Between 2013 and 2016, 25,000 moringa trees were planted and greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 40 tonnes through the use of new solar technology to dry them.

Institutional relations and interpersonal relations are closely related when it comes to FGE’s solution to help women’s empowerment in Guinea. These relations deal with the government, representation and identification in the local community. It is reported that only 48 percent of women in Guinea feel satisfied with their representation in the community. One of the reasons for this low number is that only 32 percent of women possess proper identification, which means that the majority of women cannot vote or take part in mainland institutions.

The FGE worked with Partenariat-Recherches-Environnement-Médias (PREM), a grantee organization in Guinea to establish cooperatives, which are small communities of 10-40 women and/or men. These optional groups help to organize economic efforts and help members learn from each other and save money as a collective.

As a member of a cooperative, you are also granted proper identification from PREM so you are able to participate in voting and other institutions. This means that women and men are helping to better women’s representation, but also granting them communities so that they have people in similar situations to lean on for support.

The FGE also maintains efforts to provide more personal resources to the women of Guinea. While many of the women of Guinea are beginning to enter the market of selling products, they are aware that there is more knowledge to be attained in order to be successful. Ninety-five percent of women have expressed a wish to have more knowledge when it comes to reading and writing; this knowledge is necessary to properly market and distribute their new moringa products.

Similar programs include the Business Coalition for Women, which is a group of businesses that work to improve gender equality and fight violence against women, as well as USAID’s Implementation Plan that invests in gender equality initiatives. These programs, along with the United Nations, are working hard to establish a system that increases women’s empowerment in Guinea, and these efforts continue to provide positive results.

– Scott Kesselring

Photo: Flickr

Education in Guinea
Several factors contribute to extreme poverty in Guinea. Guinea has made it a priority to address the major factors that add to this plight, one of which is education. With a population of around 10 million and a literacy rate of around 30 percent for young males and females, Guinea’s Strategic Poverty Reduction Document includes education as an important factor in helping to reduce overall poverty in the country. Guinea has received help from a few different nonprofits in order to develop strategies to meet these goals.

UNICEF is working to resolve the lack of investment in education that Guinea experiences. Classrooms have begun to overcrowd recently, partially due to refugee influxes, making it difficult for students to get the time and attention they need to succeed. Investments in additional classrooms and training staff are a part of UNICEF’s plan to alleviate this pressure, as well as adding new teaching styles to cater to the uniqueness of pupils.

Through UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education is chipping away at specific goals to target the main issues surrounding education in Guinea. The partnership has set priorities of making education more universal and available, making improvements in quality and training and strengthening government to make investments in their people’s education and support reforms.

World Education, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life through access to education, has been present in Guinea since the late 1990s. World Education has focused its efforts primarily on capacity building through several different methods. They have worked to engage NGOs within Guinea and support community participation projects as well as received funding to kickstart such programs.

While most extremely poor nations experience education issues, it is important to recognize the work of the aforementioned organizations and the role of government in education. With consistent effort in this area, the state of education in Guinea can improve.

Casey Hess

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in GuineaSituated in West Africa, Guinea is a country populated with around 12 million people. As in many impoverished countries, hunger and malnutrition are issues primarily affecting the rural areas of the nation. Over half of the population lives in extremely poor conditions, and 17.5 percent are food-insecure. Coupled with poor socioeconomic conditions and a weak government, natural disasters and disease further add to the chronic malnourishment issue. There are several programs, however, that have contributed to alleviating the consequences of hunger in Guinea over the past few decades.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been working on reducing hunger in Guinea since the mid-1960s. In the time the organization has spent in Guinea, WFP has effectively improved nourishment by promoting education programs in schools, providing nourishment to women and children specifically with HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola and promoting locally grown foods. Another area of focus for food insecurity that the WFP is addressing is access to healthcare supplies by supporting government incentives for air transport.

Similarly, Action Against Hunger (AAH) is helping Guinea move forward in food security and nutrition. AAH began work in the mid-1990s and has worked to fight disease such as cholera, while also promoting better practices relating to hunger in Guinea. AAH assisted 264,124 people in 2016.

Earlier in 2017, two native Guineans were celebrated on International Women’s Day for their contributions to the fight against hunger in Guinea. The food security, resiliency and archeology project team of the Stop Hunger foundation awarded the two women for their work in involving local parboiling in schools in rural areas that experience food-insecurity. Supported by local government, the program is an excellent example of mobilization of local communities and the effectiveness that larger nonprofits have in sparking efforts toward reliving hunger in Guinea.

Casey Hess

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Guinea RefugeesGuinea is a West African country, located south of Guinea-Bissau. The nation has a long history of helping others escape persecution. For example, it has taken in thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone. However, Guinea refugees are both incoming and outgoing: the nation takes in thousands, but thousands are also leaving.

However, the inflow of people has burdened the economy. Poverty is a substantial reason for fleeing Guinea. The instability afflicting the country has consequently made life unbearable for many of their citizens. Here are 10 facts about Guinea refugees and an explanation of the relationship between refugees entering and leaving the country:

  1. During the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone, Guinea hosted thousands of refugees. Approximately 300,000 asylum seekers from Sierra Leone entered Guinea. These refugees thus  put a strain on Guinea’s already struggling economy.
  2. Most of the refugees that flee to Guinea settle in the forest region. This created a decline in the region, and 40 percent of its inhabitants are now food-insecure. Consequently, with the influx of refugees and consequent depletion of resources, people are now starting to emigrate from Guinea.
  3. The total population of Guinea is 13,303,412. In 2016, 15,350 citizens fled. This number accounts for roughly 0.127 percent of the total population.
  4. Like many other African refugees, 81 percent of asylum applicants from Guinea were rejected.
  5. The most successful refugees were those going to the United States and Brazil.
  6. Germany is one of the more open European countries, and it is always at the top of the list for most accepted applicants. In fact, 3,458 Guinea refugees fled to Germany,  and 152 were accepted (22.75 percent).
  7. Experiments with socialism and a period under a junta government made life difficult for the people of Guinea. The junta forcefully took power in 2008, its leaders are responsible for mass murders and occurrences of rape.
  8. The instability in Guinea initiated violent ethnic tension. The different ethnicities entering Guinea from Sierra Leone and other war-torn countries made the possibility of a united, consolidated country difficult to achieve.
  9. Citizens of Guinea also endure poverty and high rates of malnutrition. In 1996, the poverty rate was 40 percent, and it rose to 49 percent in 2004. The share of the population living in extreme poverty grew from 18 percent to 27 percent.
  10. Consequently, poverty is a major reason for fleeing Guinea. In 2012, 35.3 percent of the population lived at or below $1.90 a day.

These 10 facts about Guinea refugees show that the country is struggling. However, improvements are happening. For example, food insecurity in the forest region has decreased. In 2007, 59.7 percent of the population was at or below the poverty line. In 2012, this was down to 35.3 percent.

Guinea’s population is growing, and the nation has made enormous strides in the past few years. If Guinea keeps moving in this direction, poverty will decline and the overall prosperity of the country will increase.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

Guinea, officially the Republic of Guinea, is a country located on the West coast of Africa. The country is home to around 10.5 million people. Natural disasters, such as the Ebola epidemic and recurring floods, have left much of the population with food insecurity. Here are 10 facts about hunger in Guniea:

  1. Around 55 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
  2. More than 17 percent of the Guinean people do not have food security.
  3. This food insecurity can lead to malnutrition. Around 25.9 percent of the population suffers from chronic malnutrition, this number includes nearly 100,000 children under five.
  4. Guinea is prone to frequent natural disasters, which hurt food security. Flooding is particularly common and affects approximately 50,000 to 69,000 people each year.
  5. The majority of Guineans are subsistence farmers, which makes them especially vulnerable to these natural disasters.
  6. The 2014 Ebola outbreak made already vulnerable people even more susceptible to poverty and hunger in Guinea. Trading restrictions and a curfew limit the population’s ability to participate in economic activities.
  7. Guinea’s limited resources are strained further by the influx of thousands of refugees fleeing political instability in nearby countries.
  8. In addition to providing free school lunches, the World Food Programme gives take-home food supplies to girls enrolled in the final grade. This acts as an incentive for families to keep girls in school.
  9. High rates of poverty and hunger in Guinea has contributed to the country remaining low on the Human Development Index. Currently, Guinea ranks number 178 out of 187 countries.
  10. Despite the persisting poverty in Guinea, the average life expectancy has risen significantly, from 38 in 1980 to 54.5 in 2012.

While food insecurity remains high, the rise in average life expectancy as well as the presence of assistance programs in the country show promise in reducing the rampant hunger in Guinea.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr

She's Successful: Creating Opportunities for Female Students in Guinea
Guinea has finally achieved a steady path to educational opportunity for all as the growth enrollment rate (GER) of the country has increased rather consistently over the past decade. According to an April 2002 report from The World Bank, successes toward eliminating the gender gap “provides guidance on how resource-poor countries can plan and follow a steady course toward Universal Primary Education through policy change and hard work, even where conditions, on the surface, are not particularly favorable.”

Young girls in Guinea have experienced persistent gender disparity in education. This disparity is apparent across both urban and rural areas. Specific strategies to help alleviate the issue include USAID support, the backing of the Federation of African Women Educationists (FAWE) and the Ministry of Education, which were implemented as a means for eliminating disadvantages for young female students in Guinea.

The impressive transformation of education in Guinea is so impressive that The World Bank reports it “achieved one of the world’s highest rates of GER growth over the decade.” Consistent donor support alongside adamant remedial gender-based policy vision attributes to the wide successes for female students in Guinea. At the end of 2001, the GER for boys was 59 percent while that of girls was a considerably near 41 percent as opposed to the gap in 1990 existing between 69 percent for boys and 31 percent for girls.

Guinea is credited for creating one of Africa’s first gender equity committees in the vital year of 1991 thanks to the involvement of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry advocated to highlight factors affecting girls’ education, like sanitary facilities available and teacher accommodation for girls, and thus use government funded programs to solve these issues and consequently increase attendance and participation for female students in Guinea.

At the end of the 2002 report, The World Bank stated that “despite the gains in gender equity…the degree of expenditure bias is much higher in rural areas where expenditure on boys is 1.9 times that of girls in primary and nearly four times in secondary education. Guinea’s future success will depend in large part on its ability to further build teaching and learning quality.” Luckily, Guinea joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in 2002. The GPE has been a key catalyst for the continued change in educational opportunity for female students in Guinea. This resulted in a recent General Education Strategic Plan (GESP) which covers the years 2015-2017 and “is focused on equal access, quality, relevance, and the strengthening the management of the education sector.”

Three GPE grants have been given to Guinea to support new education sector plans, and the results have been significant. Forty million dollars was granted for the years 2008-2014, $24 million for 2010-2014, and an expected $37.8 million grant will go to Guinea for the years 2015-2018.

GPE grants have resulted in success in the past. The first contributed to “increasing the girls’ examination success rate for 7th-grade entrance in 100 targeted schools from 49 percent in 2011 to 71 percent in 2014.” According to the Global Partnership for Education, another grant increased “the gross enrollment rate for nine targeted prefectures by 10 percentage points, from 47 percent in 2011 to 57 percent in 2014.”

In order to continue to encourage female students in Guinea to be successful, the new GESP strategy will focus on improving access to a basic education for all under-served groups in Guinea. Though the country still faces challenges in equity, the $37.8 million GEP grant for 2015-2018 along with adherence to the GESP will “encourage girls’ enrollment and retention through creating associations of mothers and mentors, providing training on the benefits of schooling.”

Hailey Visscher

Photo: Flickr

Ebola Flare-Up
In March of 2014, the Ebola virus ravaged countries in western Africa, quickly becoming the deadliest occurrence of the disease since 1973. As of January of this year, there have been a total of 28,637 thousand reported cases and 11,315 thousand deaths classified as probable, confirmed and suspected. This month, yet another Ebola flare-up is ravaging western Africa.

While the full force of the Ebola spread has been contained, health professionals are still fighting to drop the number of cases to zero. This month, a total of five people have died in Guinea’s recent Ebola flare-up. Naturally, the question arises whether or not this recent flare-up will spread to the same epidemic levels that West Africa had seen in the past.

Ultimately, the major difference between this recent Ebola flare-up and the huge outbreak of 2014 is that health professionals have been closely monitoring the situation. The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) has reopened its treatment unit in Nzerekore the area most affected. UNICEF also has a team in the region providing protective equipment and medicine.

The Guinea Ebola flare-up began in mid-March when the World Health Organization was alerted to three potential deaths and two suspected cases of Ebola. The emergency coordination mechanism was then reactivated, according to the WHO’s official statement, “deploying dozens of epidemiologists, surveillance experts, contact tracers, vaccinators, social mobilizers, health promoters, and infection prevention and control experts to support the effort.”

Writing for Care2, Steve Williams notes, “It’s important to emphasize that these new cases represent a contained incident.” A similar Ebola flare-up occurred in Sierra Leone in March, but this sudden rise in Ebola incidence was declared contained by the WHO. As a response to the Guinea flare-up, WHO is tracking 816 people that have come in contact with people contaminated with the virus or virus-ridden corpses.

Liberia is also taking steps to prevent new cases. The country has decided to close its border with Guinea. Lenn Eugene Nanobe, the country’s information minister, told Reuters, “We have ordered the border with Guinea closed with immediate effect. The border will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves.” WHO declared Liberia Ebola free last January.

Reuters reported recently that Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts who called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” Chan told a news briefing at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

Michael A. Clark

Sources: BBC, Care2, Newsweek, Reuters 1, Reuters 2, Reuters 3, World Health Organization
Photo: Flickr

The World Food Programme is waging war on hunger and fighting an uphill battle in six of the world’s hunger hot spots; Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Nepal and the Ebola affected regions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Most of the world’s population live in developing countries. Many of them are mired in extreme poverty, with little hope of access to clean water and often reduced to scavenging for food in trash heaps lining their decrepit shanty town streets, just to feed their children. But in these six emergencies, the situation is even more urgent.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian aid agency fighting hunger is the food aid branch of the United Nations, working to address hunger across the globe and promoting food security. Workers are on the ground in these areas trying to ease the crisis by providing needy families with life-saving food.

In Syria, the WFP is struggling to meet food need demands as nearly six million people have been displaced. The ongoing armed conflict in Syria has been growing worse and the situation steadily deteriorating. Although the WFP has been reaching approximately 4 million people using hand to mouth operations, funding is running low and the need is increasing drastically.

Iraq has been in crisis for years and continues to be. Recent upsurge in violence has left one point eight million displaced without access to water or food. The WFP reports to have reached out to about a million people since June, providing assistance.

Yemen is a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian emergency. With around half of all children under five being stunted; too short for their age, Yemen already stands as having one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world. Millions of people are being cut off from basic human needs such as food, water and electricity as fighting persists and fuel shortages continue.

Although the food security threat in South Sudan has been stabilized for now sustainable assistance is essential in the region as the situation remains extremely fragile. The WPF has been able to reach more than 2.5 million people this year but if fighting continues, the situation in South Sudan could turn into a full blown catastrophe.

The seven point eight magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25th 2015 devastated the region leaving approximately eight million people affected, living without access to food, water or shelter. With the epicenter being just outside of Kathmandu, large populations were displaced and 30 out of 75 districts in the country were ruined. The Nepalese government issued a state of emergency and the WFP is currently in the country providing assistance.

The WFP has responded in force to the Ebola emergency plaguing West Africa and has met the needs of people affected by the outbreak since April in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Along with food assistance, the WFP is also helping get the humanitarian staff and equipment into the crisis zones.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the seven point three billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014. Almost all the hungry people, 791 million, live in developing countries, representing 13.5 percent, or one in eight, of the population of developing counties.

When disaster strikes, or when war tears through a nation, humanity can be taken to the breaking point. With help from organizations like the World Food Programme, families fighting for survival can find some relief, and possibly some hope.

Jason Zimmerman

Sources: WFP, World Hunger
Photo: Action Against Hunger

The small west-African nation of Guinea has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world – just 39 for men and 42 for women. Political instability, ethnic violence and natural disasters all contribute to about 28 percent of the Guinean population’s status as food insecure, according to a 2012 study by the World Food Programme (WFP).

One of the nations affected by the deadly Ebola crisis of late last year, the Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 2,500 Guineans died as a result of the disease.

However, there is a quieter killer claiming countless more lives than were lost in the Ebola epidemic: malnutrition. A supremely young nation wherein 2 of 5 residents are below the age of 15, an estimated 212,569 Guinean children died last year as a result of malnutrition, the WFP found.

UNICEF found that 16 percent of children under the age of 5 were malnourished in 2012, the same year a cholera outbreak seized the Guinean community, infecting 2,000 and killing an estimated 82.

Malnutrition and disease are closely linked, with the U.N.’s Standing Committee on Nutrition asserting malnutrition to be the largest contributor to disease and disability worldwide.

Both HIV and tuberculosis continue to be the leading public health concerns in the region, and given their interconnectivity with malnutrition, especially in the case that the mother is infected and risks transmitting the disease to their children, the U.N. targets this population specifically through specialized parameters included in their Guinea nutrition programme.

The WHO believes malnutrition to be responsible for one-third of of all child deaths, however, it is rarely listed as a cause of death in itself. Inadequate nutrition can weaken the immune system to the point where it’s unable to fight of disease. Consequently, malnutrition plays a role in countless preventable deaths across the globe.

This is why the WFP in 2014 provided 2,400 people with AIDS and TB treatment, while also establishing 141 nutrition centers across country, where Guineans can receive specialized fortified foods called Supercereals, with sugar and enriched vegetable oil.

– Amanda Burke

Sources: WFP 1, CDC, WFP 2, Action Against Hunger, Reliefweb
Photo: Flickr

The Republic of Guinea is home to nearly 11 million people; despite its abundance of resources, Guinea continues to struggle with development and hunger. Guinea faces major socio-economic and political challenges that delay aid to the hungry.

Natural disasters contribute to the hunger in Guinea. Many Guineans rely on subsistence agriculture, but the unpredictable weather conditions make crop yields unreliable. Flooding is common in the northern areas of Guinea and affects 59,000 – 69,000 people every year. Statistics show that 27.2 percent of households are food insecure and 3.3 percent of households are severely food insecure.

Organizations like the World Food Programme and Action Against Hunger, ACF International are in Guinea to alleviate the food crisis. The WFP has been helping out Guinea for nearly 45 years. The AAH has had a major impact since 1995.

The WFP has many programs helping to aid the needs of Guinea. They are currently overseeing The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, which provides assistance to households negatively affected by natural disasters and those who are food insecure because of them. The WFP also supports communities to produce locally grown food that can be used for school feeding programs.

The AAH provides the same general concept of relief to Guinea, but in different ways. They aim specifically to evaluate, treat, and prevent acute malnutrition caused by hunger.

To evaluate, the AAH collects baseline data on key nutrition indicators like local capacities and resources, cultural practices, infrastructure and geography. The information gathered is then used to increase the effectiveness of responses. The AAH treats acute malnutrition by providing inpatient care and also outpatient programs. Ready-to-use Therapeutic Foods are given to patients to help prevent malnutrition.

By strengthening the local communities, the WFP and the AAH both have been trying to nurture Guinea into a self-sufficient state.

– Erik Nelson

Sources: Action Against Hunger 1, Action Against Hunger 2, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2

Photo: Stop Hunger Now